It was just about this time last year that Sophia Neth, owner of Sophie’s Kitchen on Washington Avenue, was in the hospital fighting for her life.
She, her husband and two of their four sons had all tested positive for COVID-19. Sophia and her son, Brandon, were in intensive care, just doors away from each other, and he was on a ventilator.
After two months of recovery, they reopened their restaurant and began their comeback in an industry where business is still very slow.
Sophie’s Kitchen is one of the few places in Philadelphia where you can get authentic Cambodian cooking, with signature dishes such as bok lahong (papaya salad) and ah mok (fish stew steamed in a banana leaf).
Nearly all of the dishes start with housemade kreung, lemongrass paste that is a signature of Cambodian cuisine. And, Sophia says, everything is meant be shared, ‘family style.’
COVID-19 was not the family’s first struggle with adversity.
Both Sophia and her husband fled the genocidal Khmer Rouge in the 1980s.
Sophia came to Philadelphia via Little Rock, Arkansas, because her parents heard that there was a bigger Cambodian community here and it would be easier to find jobs.
Sophia remembers walking three days to get to Thailand and says she still sometimes has flashbacks of seeing dead bodies along the way.
After her second brush with death, Sophia says she’s focused on being a better mom and a better person and she’s hopeful that business will get better in the near future.
Sophies Kitchen | Instagram
522 Washington Avenue, Philadelphia, Pa. 19147
McNally’s Tavern celebrating 100 years in Chestnut Hill
McNally’s Tavern in Chestnut Hill is turning 100-years-old in October.
Anne and Meg McNally are running the business these days but it was started by their great grandmother Rose McNally in 1921.
It began as McNally’s Quick Lunch, a stop along the Route 23 Trolley Line, and has grown into a staple in the Chestnut Hill neighborhood. The restaurant has been passed down through generations making Anne and Meg the fourth generation owners.
The Tavern is known to pour a perfect pint of Guinness but they have become famous for the Schmitter. It is a cheesesteak with salami, onions, tomato and Schmitter sauce.
The sandwich is named after a customer who loved Schmidt’s Beer. They serve a variety of sandwiches along with the Schmitter.
Meg has turned her baking hobby into the McNally’s dessert menu with four varieties of cakes, including the Guinness Stout cake, made with a pint of Guinness and Bailey’s Irish Cream Icing.
During the pandemic they opened the streetery, the first time they have offered outdoor dining along Germantown Avenue.
When you want to look your best, Drea Richard of Andre Richard Salon is the woman to see
In Old City, Andre Richard Salon is celebrating its 14th year in business.
Nowadays, owner Drea Richard’s life is a celebration. Five years ago she became her authentic self. Now she lives happily as a transwoman.
“I was 42 years old, and I knew myself well enough. You get to a point where you just don’t care,” she says.
“My general message is, it’s okay to be you, it’s okay to be me, it’s okay for everyone to be themselves.”
Her business continues to thrive, and she continues to do her life’s work, while living the life she always knew was right for her.
Philly food truck owners forced to reroute due to COVID-19
The pandemic has taken a huge toll on the local food truck industry.
With college campuses quiet, festivals canceled, and concert season postponed, mobile vendors have had to find new ways to operate. We checked out how three Philly favorites are pivoting in their trucks.
Soul D’Lysh hit the road in 2017 after founder/chef Allysha Holmes turned to cooking following a life-threatening car accident. Her soul food was part of the healing process and a lesson for her daughter about following dreams.
She started serving at Temple University and has grown to offer catering for special events.
Tica’s Tacos has been serving concert venues around the country since 2014. Chef Mario Sabillon features dishes based on his Honduran heritage. Since the pandemic canceled all of his planned events, he turned to meal delivery, preparing his signature dishes family style. He is the chef and the delivery man making sure his food is delivered for Taco Tuesday.
2 Street Sammies was born out of Nathan Baynes’ passion for sandwiches. His elevated sammies hit the streets in 2017 and his success led to a bigger cart just before the pandemic hit.
He is just getting back to vending with locations around Philadelphia, but he has also turned to meal prep, turning some of his sandwiches into meals that will serve a family.
Tica’s Tacos | Facebook | Instagram
2 Street Sammies | Facebook | Instagram
Dolly’s Boutique & Consignment gets you red carpet-ready for virtual Oscar parties
The 93rd Academy Awards are just around the corner, airing Sunday, April 25 on ABC.
As many of us are still socializing virtually, you may be planning to have – or attend – an Oscar viewing party, even if it’s just watching from home. If you’re ready to make it a glamorous event, Dolly’s Boutique & Consignment will have you looking your best.
Owner Shani Newton has made the Mount Airy shop a fashion staple for more than twelve years and has everything you need for Oscar night.
She strives to make luxury affordable, offering designer clothes, bags, jewelry, and accessories at discounted prices.
Before she had a storefront, Newton sold her goods out of her car. The shop is named after her grandmother, who passed away the year Newton opened the shop. She says her grandmother was her touchstone, and she will always work in honor of her memory.
A recipe for the perfect Italian-style tuna appetizer
Enter to win Portofino Tuna Sweepstakes: https://6abc.com/food/portofino-tuna-sweepstakes/10361946/
Trapani-Style Pesto Crostini with Portofino Italian-style tuna
- 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP white wine vinegar
- 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 tin of Portifino tuna, drained
In a food processor, add olive oil, vinegar, garlic, and almonds. Pulse until roughly chopped. Add the tomatoes and basil. Pulse until the tomatoes are pureed. Add the pecorino and season with salt to taste. Pulse again to incorporate.
Spread pesto onto toasted bread, also makes a great spread over bruschetta
You can find Portofino in the canned tuna aisle at your Acme, ShopRite or Weis Markets. It’s also available online at Amazon. Visit the website for more delicious recipes.
Cherry blossom sushi, drinks are in bloom at Luk Fu at Live! Casino
Cherry blossoms are blooming at Luk Fu inside Live! Casino in South Philadelphia.
The annual Washington D.C. tradition has popped up inside the casino’s Asian fusion restaurant.
Luk Fu will be offering special sushi rolls and cocktails that highlight the seasonal event. The Pink Flower Roll features tuna, salmon, yellowtail, avocado masago all wrapped in pink soy paper.
The drink menu is highlighted by a Chambord Margarita and a non-alcoholic strawberry bubble tea.
Decorations throughout the restaurant add floral flair and ambience. Luke Fu’s Cherry Blossom Celebration runs through April 11th.
Philadelphia Zoo unveils new dinosaur exhibit
The Philadelphia Zoo’s new exhibit, Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age will take you back 66 million years; back to a time when a giant asteroid slammed into the Earth, ending the reign of dinosaurs.
The exhibit includes 24 life-sized creatures, including T-rex and Triceratops, and takes visitors through the years as our ancestors spread across the globe.
Along the way, visitors meet saber-toothed cats, gorilla-sized lemurs and humongous birds, all of which have gone extinct; and today, as other amazing animals like polar bears, rhinos and elephants are at risk for the same fate.
Big Time: Life in an Endangerous Age | Philadelphia Zoo: Tickets | Facebook | Instagram
3400 West Girard Ave, Philadelphia, Pa. 19104
Homeward Bound Adoption Center gets a special delivery of kittens looking for a forever home
A Camden County pet adoption center just got a special delivery, baby kittens.
These four-day-old kittens are called freshies and can barely open their eyes. They were rescued by a good Samaritan, then dropped off at the Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center in Blackwood, N.J., a non-profit organization dedicated to ending animal homelessness in Camden County.
Director of Development Gina DiMarco says it’s like Christmas every morning because of their 24/7 open admission policy.
This litter will need to be fostered for about eight weeks before they’re ready for adoption. They’re always looking for fosters and even teach seminars on how to bottle-feed.
However, in order to feed the kittens, they also rely heavily on donations, especially for the type of milk they need.
The center, which adopted out about 3,000 animals last year, also has a low-cost clinic open to the public, outdoor kennels and six outdoor play-yards.
In addition, they run a pet food pantry that helps pets stay with their families by offering food assistance to families in need. They are always looking for volunteers and donations.
Homeward Bound Pet Adoption Center | Instagram
125 County House Road, Blackwood, New Jersey 08012
Gross McCleaf Gallery’s long legacy of female leadership, promoting emerging artists
Gross McCleaf gallery was founded in 1969 by Estelle Shane Gross, and the Rittenhouse Square Gallery has celebrated a half-century legacy of female leadership
After her death in 1992, the new owner, Sharon Ewing, carried on that tradition. Now, Rebecca Segall has taken the reins.
The gallery hosts two solo shows a month. In April, you can see the works of Philadelphia-based painter, Joe Lozano.
The second solo show is from PAFA alum Christine Lafuente called A View From Here.
DiBruno Brothers just opened an 8,000-square-foot culinary oasis in downtown Wayne.
The space includes a wine bar, demo kitchen and a market filled with artisanal meats and cheeses and unique finds. As Emilio Mignucci, Vice President & 3rd generation owner puts it, “it’s kind of like the Disney World of food”
DiBruno Brothers, Wayne | Facebook | Instagram
385 W Lancaster Ave, Wayne, Pa. 19087
The Shofuso Japanese House & Garden has reopened for another season, Wednesday-Sunday through December. But now is the time to see the cherry blossoms, which should be in full bloom through the end of April.
The Michener Museum in Doylestown has a new exhibition called Essential Work: A Community Portrait. For the project, the museum asked people to submit photographs that defined, for them, the challenges of 2020. 25 of those images are now on display.